Mason, OH -- (SBWIRE) -- 01/10/2014 -- Today attending college is considered to be the cultural norm. It is what you do after high school. Parents, students, guidance counselors, and teachers look at a bachelor's degree as being synonymous with a career and, at a minimum, middle-class prosperity.
But is this the truth? After performing research for his new book, ‘The Next Step. Is College Really the Right Choice?’, author Thomas B. Walsh realized that the reality is distressingly different.
Every May approximately three million teenagers graduate from high school to the strains of "Pomp and Circumstance." Given the mediocre quality of K-12 education in the United States today the vast majority of these kids are lucky if they are prepared for a minimum wage job at McDonalds. Since flipping burgers doesn’t sound very attractive, all of these young folks are open to suggestion. What sounds better than, "Go to college and earn $1,000,000 more than a high school graduate?" Everyone is doing it, and it is free. The government will give you the money, and you don’t have to pay it back for years.
Sound like a plan? Here is the stark reality:
It is highly unlikely that your student is going to make $1,000,000 more than the average high school graduate.
Financing college with student loan debt is not "free." In fact it is dangerous.
If your teenager goes to college, and picks the wrong major, he is not going to get a good job.
More than half of the students that enroll in a four-year traditional college or a community college don’t graduate.
There are numerous opportunities that don’t require your student to sit in a classroom for years that can result in her getting a great job.
If your student just graduated from high school, the challenge now is how he or she will become a financially self-sufficient adult in the next few years. College may be the right answer, or maybe not.
"The Next Step" will guide you and your teenager in developing a plan of action.
"Thirty years ago a bachelor's degree could be looked upon as a 'magic charm.' If you had one in your possession, good things were likely to happen to you," says Walsh. "Today is a different story. College costs have skyrocketed. Ninety-one million people are not working in the US. In 2012 only twenty-seven percent of college students landed on their feet, earning a degree and finding a good paying job. Many graduates ended up underemployed, working in jobs that do not require a degree."
Continuing: "Many students and parents seem oblivious to the risks inherent in student loans. Two thirds of students get student loans, and about half of those students end up in trouble financially. What is needed is a tough look at reality-both the potential career opportunities and financial. What ‘The Next Step’ does is prepare families for this reality, and provide guidance toward developing personalized goals for students. There are so many opportunities out there beyond just going to a four-year traditional college – my aim is to help parents and kids understand their options."
‘The Next Step’ is available now from Amazon: http://amzn.to/1lzePV8
About Mr. Walsh
Mr. Walsh is a retired business executive. He worked his way through college twice to earn a Bachelor of Science degree and an MBA back in the day when working your way through college was still possible. His grown daughter made the mistake of asking him for some advice on completing the FAFSA for his grandchildren. This book is the result.